As an author and reviewer of local history books, I'm lucky in being in a position to read some of the best titles being published in this county.
I'm currently reading RAYLEIGH THROUGH TIME by Mike and Sharon Davies writing for Amberley Publishing in Stroud. Rayleigh has been a place of religious devotion since before Saxon times and its name is derived from raege (a wild roe deer) and leah (a clearing). Its market has one of the earliest royal charters in Essex dating back to 1181 and its history its fascinating. I particularly liked the story of the Whispering Court, one of the earliest Manorial Courts in Essex, dating back more than 400 years. Perhaps it was the advent of the railway in 1889 that changed life so much for the villagers. From a quiet 19th century community with a population of around 1,500, it gradually become a bustling, vibrant town with a population today of around 35,000. This is an interesting new title with so many fabulous photos and stories - ISBN 978 1 4456 13307 price £9.99 This is a great read.